Does Training Matter? A Systematic Review of Caregiver Training Within Human-Canine and Human-Human Dyads

Nicole Pfaller-Sadovsky

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Modern companion dogs serve various functions in human society, e.g. providing owners with company and engage them in physical activity (Westgarth et al., 2014; Zasloff & Kidd, 1994). Dogs, just like humans, can engage in socially-relevant undesired behaviors (e.g. aggression), and caregivers are an integral part of respective treatments. The current review aimed at systematically investigating the importance of caregiver training in intra- and interspecific behavior-change programs, identifying training strategies showing greatest efficacy with caregivers. This systematic review generally followed the recommendations of The Campbell Collaboration (2017) and utilized the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses (i.e. PRISMA; Moher et al., 2009) for literature selection. This process yielded 56 eligible studies comprising controlled-group, clinical-study, pre-test-post-test, single-case designs, randomized controlled trials, and case studies, (i.e. 7%, 5%, 18%, 43%, 7%, 20%, respectively), involving a total of n=1,707 participants across all eligible studies (see Table 1). These preliminary results highlight a deficit of research focus on canine-caregiver training, and behavior-analytic approaches in general of which single-case designs are a hallmark of. At the time of this abstract’s write-up (Dec 2017), data analysis was being conducted, and results should be viewed incomplete.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2018
EventAssociation for Behavior Analysis International: 44th Annual Convention - Hyatt Regency Hotel, San Diego, United States
Duration: 24 May 201828 May 2018


ConferenceAssociation for Behavior Analysis International
Abbreviated titleABAI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Bibliographical note

Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D.G., The PRISMA Group. (2009). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLoS Medicine, 6, e1000097. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097.t002
The Steering Group of The Campbell Collaboration. (2017). Campbell Collaboration Systematic Reviews: Policies and Guidelines [pdf]. Retrieved from

Westgarth, C., Christley, R.M., Christian, H.E. (2014). How might we increase physical activity through dog walking? A comprehensive review of dog walking correlates. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 11, 83-97. doi:

Zasloff, R. L. & Kidd, A. H. (1994). Loneliness and pet ownership among single women. Psychological Reports, 75, 747–752. doi:10.2466/pr0.1994.75.2.747.


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